Roma tops Cagliari to snap winless skid

Cagliari, Italy ( - Roma snapped a four-match winless run and moved back to within seven points of leaders Juventus on Sunday by notching a 2-1 win at Cagliari.

Adem Ljajic tallied the opener in the 38th minute for the capital club, while Leandro Paredes scored five minutes from time to double the advantage before a late consolation goal from Cagliari's Paul-Jose M'Poku.

The result drops Cagliari into the bottom three on goal difference, while Roma was able to maintain its four-point lead over third-place Napoli after a run of four successive draws.

Roma goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis was called into action in the 19th minute by a low shot from Duje Cop at his near post, but it was the visitors who seized the advantage seven minutes before halftime.

Daniele Verde was the architect of the goal as his chip picked out Ljajic in front of the net, allowing the Serbian to beat goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic with a right-footed finish.

Cagliari came out firing in the second half and should have equalized through Cop in the 78th when he floated a shot over the crossbar despite being left alone with De Sanctis.

Daniele Conti and Godfred Donsah also had chances for the home side, but after each of those efforts failed to find the net, Roma went up 2-0 in the 85th when the 18-year-old Verde set up another goal by releasing Paredes for a volley past Brkic.

M'Poku scored on a header deep into stoppage time for Cagliari, but it came too late to make a real difference.

Napoli stayed seven points clear of fourth-place Fiorentina by notching a 3-1 home win over Udinese thanks to first-half goals from Dries Mertens and Manolo Gabbiadini, while the Viola edged Atalanta, 3-2, thanks to a goal in the 89th minute from Manuel Pasqual.

Empoli knocked off Cesena, 2-0, in an important relegation six-pointer as Massimo Maccarone and Franco Signorelli each found the net for Empoli, which moved five points clear of the drop zone, Sampdoria and Sassuolo traded goals in the opening 10 minutes of a 1-1 draw, and Inter Milan rolled to a 3-0 win over Palermo behind a brace from Mauro Icardi in the second half.